ISI plugin v0.1.1 - read carefully before using!

Yoav Avitzour yoav at
Sun Sep 14 13:17:01 EDT 2008


Attached is the new version of the plugin. This version includes a 
significant change as described below.

It turns out that all the previous versions of the plugin did not query 
the ISI database for anything other than the title. This, in turn, was 
quite fortunate since it also turns out that ISI requires a very strict 
format for author query. The new version queries both author and year in 
addition to title, and it uses some logic when to convert the current 
author list to an acceptable ISI format. It also converts back to the 
author name to a more human readable form in the referencer window (with 
dots separating the author initials)

This function that converts authors to the restrictive ISI format, 
however, is not perfect. It cannot cover all possible ways to write the 
author name, so on some cases the query will return no results since the 
author list that was generated by the plugin was incorrect. In these 
cases the user may either clear the Authors field altogether or make 
sure it is formatted in a sensible way. The authors list must be 
separated by "and" as is the bibtex rule.

Sensible ways to write author name include:

(1) Firstname Surname and ...

(2) Surname, Firstname and ...

(3) A. B. Surname and ...

(4) Surname, A. B. and ...

(5) Surname, AB and ...

(6) Surname AB and ...

The plugin returns the author lists formated in format (3).

Known exceptions:

- Authors with more than three names (either due to a suffix such as Jr, 
Sr, etc. or simply authors with 4 or more names). The ISI query system 
does not support authors with more than 3 names (although the database 
itself contains entries with such authors, you just cannot query them). 
The plugin attempts to work around it, however, if the three initials 
are joined together (e.g. "Surname, ABC" as in format (5) or (6)), the 
plugin is not aware that these are initials and will treat it as a 3 
letter name (format(1) or (2)).

- Author with a surname that has only two letters and uses format (1) 
above - the plugin will assume format (6) is used and will not realize 
that format (1) was used.

If someone finds more examples where the author query fails please let 
me know and I'll try to work around them.

Also, if people feel that using the Author field in the query restricts 
the query too much, perhaps I could add a preference to ask which field 
to use in the query.

Finally, the ISI database is far from perfect and I wish there were a 
better solution. It has errors, and sometimes a query will fail simply 
due to a typo in the database (examples I came across are "unshifting" 
instead "upshifting," "held" instead of "field," etc.). Also, it 
sometimes changes words in the title, for example "Second" becomes 
"2nd," "alpha" becomes "a" and so on. Unfortunately, I am not aware of a 
better solution at this point, though I'd be happy to hear about it if 
anybody knows about one.


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